Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2022 – ‘Potluck’ – #History – Pump Organs by Joy Neal Kidney


Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine.

The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics. This series is along the same lines… but is a ‘Lucky Dip’. I have posts scheduled for another few weeks but that will bring this current series to an end. Another series will begin in the new year.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the half of 2022

In her second post in the series author Joy Neal Kidney shares the workings of the pump organ in the church where the family worshipped.

Old Pump Organs

During my growing up years, we worshiped at the Presbyterian Church in Dexter, where my Aunt Nadine (Neal) Shepherd was the pianist, organist (a pump organ), and choir director. Because so many choir members were from farm families, several months during the year, the choir became smaller.

We Neal cousins went to the Dexter school, just a couple of blocks from the church. Dexter had such a wonderful music teacher, Ruth Sellers, so in no time at all we could read music. Several of us also took piano lessons. Aunt Nadine recruited us for a youth choir, which eventually became the main choir.

When I was a junior in high school, Aunt Nadine was pregnant and needed substitutes at the organ and piano. I’d played piano for Sunday School, but the organ was a pump organ (video). That means that while you’re playing the keyboard, you also need to pump the bellows that made it play!

The pump organ is the instrument on the left. (The rear-view mirror is to be able to coordinate music with ushers, the pastor, and even when the choir processed in from behind the organist. Taken about 1961, First Presbyterian Church, Dexter, Iowa

I’m in the back row, second from left. My sister is on the front right. Eight of us are Neal cousins! Aunt Nadine is at the back right.

The keys operate reeds, so when you press the key, air from the bellows flows up the reed and makes a sound. You can change the sound by using the stops, which are pull knobs that add extra features. The expression “pull out all the stops” refers to using all the knobs of an organ at the same time.

The Dexter church eventually traded the pump organ for a Hammond electronic organ, which I enjoyed playing, but if I’d had the money at the time, I would still own that old pump organ. I enjoyed playing it and had figured out how to repair the bellows when needed it.

A Depression-Era Pump Organ

While working on Leora’s Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression, I became acquainted with Mary Wilt, a neighbor of the Wilsons back then. She knew that Leora Wilson could play the piano and that the Wilson girls played in the Dexter band, so she said they could have her pump organ since she didn’t play it anymore.

The surprise was that the Wilson family was so strapped for life’s necessities, there was hardly money for extras. They had even needed to burn furniture so they could heat part of the house they rented.

Dale needed a project for manual training. He transformed wood from that old organ into a radio table.

© Joy Neal Kidney 2022

About Joy Neal Kidney

Joy Neal Kidney is an Iowa author who grew up on a farm, now living in a Des Moines suburb with her husband, Guy, an Air Force Veteran of the Vietnam War and a retired Air Traffic Controller. Their son is married and they live out-of-state with a small daughter named Kate.

With God’s help, Joy is aging gratefully. Living with fibromyalgia for two dozen years has given her plenty of home-bound days to write blog posts and books. “Leora’s Early Years: Guthrie County Roots” is her third book in the “Leora Stories” series. Her research from decades ago has helped tell her grandmother’s stories.

She was presented with the 2021 Great American Storyteller Award “Honoring the woman who most beautifully tells the story of America to Americans,”by Our American Stories and WHO NewsRadio 1040.

Books by Joy Neal Kidney

My review for Leora’s Letters August 6th 2022

This book is an intimate inclusion in one family’s life and loss during the Second World War. Clabe and Leora work tirelessly on the farm they manage to raise their children and put something by for their dream of owning their own farm. In this rural environment it is natural for young men and women to perhap have their own dreams and even before Pearl Harbour one son has signed up with the Navy. Over the course of the war five sons would enlist to serve their country.

Through the letters written by Leora to her sons, and their often censored letters in return we share life on the home front and also their challenges as they go through training and then deployment. Their only link to home is these letters and others between each other and their sisters, and it is clear that this is a close knit and loving family doing their best through a very difficult time.

One can only imagine the constant worry any parent would have with a child serving on the front line, particularly with incomplete news reports in the media, long after major battles at sea and in the air. But to have five sons in the line of fire in the Pacific and in Europe must have been unbearable.

The letters are beautiful in their simplicity and informality as they would have been between a loving family. There is also some wry humour as the boys encounter the world outside their rural upbringing and undergo their training, as well as a deep love of their parents as they send money home toward their dream of owning their own land.

From the first page we are drawn into this family and feel the hope, love and loss they suffer over the course of the war. Whilst there is sadness, there is also admiration for a brave mother and her sons who believed in doing their duty, and respect for the sacrifice this family made. War should never be glorified, but those who lay their lives on the line for their country should be, especially when young with their whole lives ahead of them.

This period for all of us is now moving from living history as the last of those who can share their stories pass away. It is so important  that major events such as major conflicts are fought by ordinary men and women and their stories deserve to be told and remembered.

The author has done a wonderful job in collating these letters that recreate so vividly this time in world histry. By doing so she honours the members of her family, including her own parents who lived, loved and lost so much.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UKMore reviews: GoodreadsWebsite: Joy Neal Kidney – Facebook: Joy Neal Kidney Author – Twitter: @JoyNealKidneyInstagram: Joy Neal Kidney

 

Smorgasbord Music Column 2022 – William Price King meets the Music Legends – #Classical – Andrea Bocelli – Pavarotti, Celine Dion, Awards 1990s


It is eight years since William Price King joined Smorgasbord to share music across the genres. It is six years since we have featured some of the music legends and delighted to showcase them again in 2022.

Welcome to the next part in the Andrea Bocelli story. The multi-award winning cross over tenor has won not just critical acclaim for his beautiful voice, but the hearts of millions around the world

In September 1994 when Andrea was invited to sing at the renowned Pavarotti’s annual Charity Gala Concert, Pavarotti International in Modena. Bocelli sang Ruggiero Leoncavallo’s ‘Mattinata’ (Morning).. A song with quite an interesting back story.

It was the first song ever written for the then Gramophone Company in 1904 (which later became HMV). Ruggero Leoncavallo was an Italian composer who was best known for his two act opera, Pagliacci written in 1892, and still one of the top twenty list of most performed operas worldwide. ‘Mattinata’ was dedicated to the renowned Italian tenor, Enrico Caruso, and he was the first to record the song with Leoncavallo at the piano.. Just one of over 260 recordings between 1902 and 1920 by the great Caruso.

Also during the gala performance, Andrea sang a duet with Pavarotti, Maurizio Morante’s Notte e Piscatore’. Luciano Pavarotti 

This was the year that Andrea Bocelli made his opera debut in Verdi’s Macbeth as Macduff. Performing at the Teatro Verdi in Pisa. It was also in 1994 that Andrea, who considered himself to be an agnostic, reverted to catholicism. It followed his immersion in the works of Leo Tolstoy who promoted the belief that life was not the result of pure chance, but had purpose and meaning. He performed the hymn ‘Adeste Fideles in Rome before Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Basilica at Christmas.

Having won the newcomer section at the 1994 San Remo Festival, Andrea was invited to return in 1995. This time he entered the main competition with ‘Con ti Partiro’ and finished in fourth place.

The song was included on his second album, Bocelli, produced by Mauro Malavasi and released in November 1995. In Belgium, the song became the best-selling single of all time.

In this piece, Con te Partiro, Bocelli’s young voice is strong and well supported.His mixing of high and low notes confirm his distinct timbrewhich is extraordinary and transcendent,and his performance is as impressive as the power he brings to its expression. Andrea Bocelli 

Later in 1995 Bocelli was invited to sing with soprano Sarah Brightman and they translated the title of the song to ‘Time to Say Goodbye’. The single topped the German charts and stayed there for over three months. Three million copies were sold and this beat the previous record of best-selling single by one million copies, the single also won a sextuple platinum award.

In 1996 Bocelli released his third album. Viaggio Italiano is Andrea Bocelli’s third studio album and first classical album. The album features some of the most popular opera arias and Neapolitan songs of all time, such as Ave Maria, Nessun Dorma, O Sole Mio and la Donna è Mobile. Although released only in Italy in 1996, it sold close to 300,000 copies. Bocelli later received the ECHO Klassik “Best seller of the year” award for the album, after its international release, in 1997

Bocelli gives a warm,passionate,and heartfelt delivery of Schubert’s Ave Maria. It’s unbelievably heavenly and inspirational.

Bocelli continued to gain fans around Europe, topping the charts in Spanish charts with ‘Vivo Por Ella’ ( I Live for Her) his duet with Queen of Spanish pop Marta Sanchez. This was followed in 1997 with the French version of the song, ‘Je Vis Pour Elle’ sung with French singer Hélène Ségara; a hit in Belgium and reaching number one in France.

On March 3rd 1997 he appeared in Hamburg, Germany, with Sarah Brightman to receive the ECHO music award for Best Single of the Year for Time to Say Goodbye. This was followed in the September with Bocelli’s concert at the Piazza dei Cavalieri in Piza, A Night in Tuscany which was his first concert to air on PBS.

Whilst continuing to perform concerts and to record further albums, Bocelli remained committed to performing opera roles and early in 1998 he made his debut in a major role as Rodolfo in La bohème at the Teatro Comunale in Cagliari.

His fifth album Aria: The Opera Album’ was released in March. There was some negative reviews for the album from opera purists who felt that his voice was not strong enough to master the arias. If you read the reviews on Amazon, it is clear to see there is definitely a divide between the critics and the massive response from Bocelli’s fans who loved the album.. Here is one review that sums up this controversy.

CHANGE YOUR REVIEWER ! By DAVID WILLIAMS on March 1, 2000

Thanks to Rick Holden (Sceptic@traveller.com) for showing Ms Miller how to write a proper review. Having listened to the album myself I can only agree whole heartedly with his comments. Unfortunately there are too many critics out there who try to analyse music note by note and impress us with their technical jargon.

The joy of music is all about liking what you hear, and whether or not the music moves you. How can anyone enjoy listening if they’re listening for flaws or mistakes instead of enjoying what they hear. Perhaps Andrea Bocelli isn’t the greatest Opera singer, I don’t know, but I can say that he has one of the most wonderfully melodic voices I have ever heard and he sings like a man who is enjoying every note he delivers.

His background or his potential for the future don’t bother me, he is the man of the moment, and that’s all that matters. I recently watched a video performance of his ‘Evening in Tuscany’ which I would reccommend to all fans. Maybe Andrea will never be a great Opera singer, but who cares? He can move audiences without all the fancy dress. VIVA ANDREA!

It was now time to win over the United States and in April, Bocelli made his debut with a concert at the John F. Kennedy Centre in Washington. This was followed the next day by a reception a the White House with President Bill Clinton.

As a very definite response to some of his critics, Bocelli appeared in Monte Carlo in the May and won two World Music Awards. One in the category “Best Italian Singer”, and one for “Best Classical Interpretation“. He was also named one of People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People of 1998. This was consolidated in September when he received his second Echo Klassik award for the best-selling Aria: The Opera Album which sold almost two million copies, one million of them in the United States achieving Platinum status.

Here is ‘E lucevan le stelle‘ from the album – Bocelli’s grasp of style and vocal technique are quite evident in this aria, and his talent undeniable.His sound is not rounded in a Pavarotti-like way but is quite virile with a *baritone-like color used over a wide *vocal range without any suspicion of strain. Do enjoy this aria which is performed lovingly, sincerely,and skillfully.

Note: barione-like color – timbre
Note: vocal range –the measure of the breadth of pitches that a human voice can sing.

As the millennium drew to a close there was very little that could stop the phenomenon that was Andre Bocelli.

On Thanksgiving Eve, Andrea was a guest on Celine Dion’s televised These Are Special Times where they sang ‘The Prayer‘. The duet was included on Celine Dion’s album of the same name and the song also appeared on the film Quest for Camelot in 1998. ‘The Prayer’ won the Golden Globe for Best Original Song in 1999 and at the 41st Grammy Awards, Bocelli was nominated for Best New Artist.

His seventh album, Sacred Arias contained exclusively sacred music and reached number one on the US Classic Billboard charts two weeks later. This made Andre the first vocalist to hold all three top places on the chart with Aria: The Opera Album in second place and Viaggio Italiano in third place. To promote Sacred Arias, Bocelli recorded his second PBS concert in Rome and this special was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Classical Music-Dance Program.

To end the decade and millennium on a high note, Bocelli performed at the Royal Variety performance at the end of November 1999 by invitation of Queen Elizabeth. The following day his autobiographical novel, La Musica del Silenzio was released in Italy.

BUY Andrea Bocelli’s Music: Amazon

Official Website:Andrea Bocelli

Additional materialWikipedia

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

Blog– IMPROVISATION William Price King on Tumblr – Buy William’s music: William Price King iTunes – FacebookWilliam Price King – Twitter@wpkofficial
Regular Venue – Cave Wilson

 

As always William would love to receive your feedback… thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Laughter is the Best Medicine – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Family Photos and Ramblings


Firstly, some funnies from Debby Gies followed by some funnies from Sally. Thanks to those who share the funnies on the internet.

D.G. Writes is where you will find an archive full of wonderful posts across several subjects including writing tips, social issues and book reviews.My thanks to Debby for excellent foraging

D. G. Kaye – Buy: Amazon US And: Amazon UK Blog: D.G. WritesGoodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads – Twitter: @pokercubster

Debby’s new series Spiritual Awareness..How Do You Know If You Are An Empath – The Signs

Now for some fun from Sally….

Ramblings of a Retired Mind…

I found this timely, because today I was in a store that sells sunglasses, and only sunglasses. A young lady walks over to me and asks, “What brings you in today?” I looked at her and said, “I’m interested in buying a refrigerator.” She didn’t quite know how to respond.
*****
Am I getting to be that age? I was thinking about how a status symbol of today is those cell phones that everyone has clipped onto their belt or purse. I can’t afford one. So I’m wearing my garage door opener.
*****
You know, I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people didn’t like me anyway.
*****
I was thinking that women should put pictures of missing husbands on beer cans!
*****
I thought about making a fitness movie for folks my age and call it “Pumping Rust.”
*****
When people see a cat’s litter box they always say, “Oh, have you got a cat?” Just once I want to say, “No, it’s for company!”
*****
Employment application blanks always ask who is to be called in case of an emergency. I think you should write, “An ambulance.”
*****
I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older. Then it dawned on me. They were cramming for their finals.
*****
Birds of a feather flock together and then crap on your car.
*****
The older you get the tougher it is to lose weight because by then your body and your fat have gotten to be really good friends.
*****
The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.
*****
The sole purpose of a child’s middle name is so he can tell when he’s really in trouble.
*****
Did you ever notice that when you put “The” and “IRS” together it spells “Theirs”?
*****
You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.

 

Thank you for joining us today and we hope you are leaving with a smile on your face.. Debby and Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2022 – ‘Potluck’ -#Children #Reading by Sue Wickstead


Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine.

The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics. This series is along the same lines… but is a ‘Lucky Dip’. I have posts scheduled for another few weeks but that will bring this current series to an end. Another series will begin in the new year.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the half of 2022

Teacher and children’s author Sue Wickstead shares one of her favourite books and authors from her childhood, and some interesting mixed lego animals she has made.

Have you met any fantastic beasts?

I was asked to talk about an author, for my writing group, and what they meant to me..

Who is your favourite author?

There are so many, I didn’t know who to choose!

I thought about looking at JK Rowling and her book ‘Magical Beasts and where to find them’.

This reminded me of an old book we had in the family, ‘The Zoo on Sunday’, written by Frank Worthington.

I wondered if perhaps this was where JK Rowling might have got some of her ideas.The Snat

Frank Worthington C.B.E; F.R.G.S; F.Z.S; Formerly secretary of Native Affairs, Northern Rhodesia and author of author of ‘The Little Wise Owl’ and ‘Chiromo, the Witch Doctor’.

Frank Worthington published The Zoo on Sunday in 1925, and as a ‘first-class black-and-white artist’, was also the illustrator.

My aunt Rose was given the book in 1930 (she remembered it was given by her Auntie Edie, a teacher, and Uncle Carl Webster, a head master and schools inspector in London at that time).

The book was passed down in the family for us to look at and enjoy, which we did although it was a little strange.. It was certainly thought proviking..

Mixed up animals

The Tor-tare

The book has full page black and while illustrations of mixed up animals (The Tortaire; The Hippo-Cock-Tail; The Snat; the Hermit Bear and The Cro-co-dowl to name but a few)

The Snat

Each with a poem to go with the new animal.

The introduction poem asks why London Zoo might be closed on a Sunday. It asks, ‘What can be seen there on a Sunday that isn’t to be seen on a Monday?’

The poem ends with a ticket to ‘Toological gargles, Wegent’s Park’ from the ‘Toological Sobriety of London’.

With a message’ don’t breathe a word on Monday of what you saw or heard on Sunday.

Frank Worthington had ‘more than one unusual pet:

One was a Marabou Stork, with a bill like a pickaxe. It would walk quietly up to a sleeping dog, contemplate for a time, and then give the animal a tremendous blow with his beak and would clatter his beak and dance around with delight.’

‘Another pet was a large bush pig, it would often dig itself out of the sty and was persuaded to go home by one boy pushing it and another scratching its back with a garden rake.’

These strange pets obviously gave Frank Worthington his ideas and inspiration.

Lego Mixels

The book has recently re-captured my imagination, because over lockdown I have been making a few Lego models which seem to have mixed up animal links.

Each colourful trio come in family groups, such as The purple Wiztastics, who are Mesmo, Wizwus and Magnifo.Wiztastics

The Mixels and Nixels have some imaginative names such as Nurp-Naut; Vaka-Waka; Tentro; Glomp and Jawg and they certainly made me giggle..

MixelsI did wonder what a book of ‘Lego Mixels’ might look like and was set to have a go.

Phonics

As a teacher, I have been asked to teach phonics to reception and year one.

In the ‘Read-Write-Inc’ phonics scheme one task is for the children to sound out and say a few words and have to identify if they are real or Alien words.

Phonics – Alien WordsThese names not only sound fun, but have some very odd-looking creatures.

The next time I teach phonics I doubt I would be able to say if it was an alien word. If you can sound it out and say it, I’m sure you can write about it and if you can’t? Well there are lots of words from other languages you might have trouble pronouncing and just because you can’t say it doesn’t mean it is nonsense.

Maybe the best nonsense words can become fun. Like the Nifflers in JK Rowlings book Fantastic Beasts.

And maybe I will have to write a book to go with the Mixels. Who knows?

© Sue Wickstead 2022

My thanks to Sue for letting me share the posts from her archives and you and any younger members of the family will find much to enjoy over on her blog.

About Sue Wickstead

Sue Wickstead is a teacher and an author with Award winning books.
Shortlisted in the Wishing Shelf Book awards. and has written children’s picture books with a bus theme. In addition, she has also written a photographic history book about the real bus behind her story writing.

Her bus stories are about a playbus. Have you ever been on a Playbus?
When Sue’s two children were young, they attended a playgroup on a bus, but not an ordinary bus taking you on a journey, exciting though this is, but a Playbus stuffed full of toys to capture their imagination!

For over 20 years, alongside her teaching career, she worked with the charity, the Bewbush Playbus Association.

As part of the committee she painted the bus, worked in the groups, helped raise the profile of the project and its work and was part of the team involved in raising funds to replace the old bus with a newer vehicle. This led her to write a photographic history book about it.

‘It really was a fun journey to be involved in’, said Sue. The bus really got into her blood and became a work of the heart.

Having written the history book Sue soon found that many children had never been on a bus before, let alone a ‘Playbus’ and they wanted to know more. So, she decided to write a fictional tale, his number plate JJK261, gave him his name.

‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus,’ came out in print in 2014. It is the story behind the original project and is his journey from a scrap-yard to being changed into a playbus for children to play in. From Fact to fiction the bus journey continues.

A small selection of books by Sue Wickstead

One of the reviews for David’s Bin Day

This Children’s picture book follows David as he likes to watch out for the bin men each week.

He likes to wear a bobble hat just like the bin men, and he decides he wants to tidy up.

Suddenly things around the house start to disappear, including an important letter for Daddy.

Where are the missing items? Does it have something to do with David?

This is a really sweet and lovely book to read, and I loved reading it with my daughter.

Not only does it show children about one of the jobs that they may not think of, but it also shows the importance of keeping things tidy.

I must admit, I was laughing thinking about what I would do if this was my child, but I did love how the family reacted.

My daughter said: I loved the pictures in the book and liked listening to mummy read.

Overall, a sweet and lovely children’s book with a message to keep things tidy.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – More reviews: Goodreads – Website/Blog: Sue Wickstead – Facebook: Stories Sue – Facebook: Teacher Page – Twitter: @JayJayBus – LinkedIn: Sue Wickstead

 

Smorgasbord Health Column – Size Matters: The Sequel – #Morbid Obesity – Putting your Healthy Eating Plan together Part One #Measurements #Motivation by Sally Cronin


This is the updated and fifth edition of Size Matters and I had intended to release in 2021 for the 25th anniversary of my initial weight loss. However, with everything else going on in the world it did not seem appropriate to celebrate when people’s minds were fixed on survival in lockdown. Although this serialisation ontains much of the original material in relation to my own personal story, the programme has evolved over the last 25 years.

Although I studied nutritional therapy back in the mid-1990s, I have continued my studies and developed new programmes for healthy eating that are tailor made for the individual rather than a one size fits all. I still believe that the key elements of this basic weight loss programme I will share with you in this updated version works. Even when I work with clients who have arthritis or diabetes, I still approach their programmes from the three dimensions that I outline in this book.

Last week I shared how you can determine how much weight you should lose to be healthy

You can read the previous post: HERE

Our physical approach, our mental attitude and our emotions are all factors in how we overcome disease and obesity, and should all be addressed when looking for the right programme that will work for each individual.

Putting your Eating Plan together Part One #Measurements #Motivation

So far in this series I have covered the basics of how you might have become overweight, and some strategies to put in place to make sure you are successful, however much you weight you need to shed. This included making sure you deal with any underlying health issues such as Candida Albicans and getting your willpower in shape. Last week I shared the abundance of food that you can eat as get to a healthy weight and now it is time to put those foods together in an eating plan.

Because this is a longer than usual chapter… I am posting over two segments this week and next.

Creating Your Own Plan

So now it is your turn.

Weigh yourself.

I hate bathroom scales with a vengeance. They can sabotage a healthy eating programme as quick as anything. They are not always reliable, if old, the measurements are off and if you do not lose weight one week you can get demoralised and give up.

I suggest that you find a chemist or other outlet that has accurate scales and visit every two weeks – same day and time if you can – on the way to work perhaps.

I try to find one that does not shout the results across the shop floor!

Some of these also have a blood pressure cuff so another measurement to check on a regular basis. Do still have your BP taken officially along with your LDL cholesterol levels and Blood Sugar with your doctor or the pharmacy after 6–8 weeks.

To be honest, I find using a different method to measure progress can be more motivating.

  • One is to take a photograph, full length of you today and stick it somewhere you see it every day.
  • In 6 weeks time having been following your new regimen of natural unprocessed foods and got into an increased activity programme, take another and compare them.
  • I think you will be pleasantly surprised, especially if you wear the same clothes you did in the first photograph.. They should feel a lot looser and it will show.

Another option is to find an item of clothing that is a size too small and every week on the same day try it on.

  • Keep going until you fit into it. Be realistic.
  • If you are a size 20, don’t think that you are going to be in a size 10 in six weeks.
  • Start with a size 18 and then a size smaller every four to six weeks should be about the right time scale.

A note here, unfortunately, we women lose weight from the top down usually. One of the reasons being is that we have different hips and thighs to men. We bear children and the fat in those regions would be used to nourish the baby when we are pregnant. So perhaps an idea would be to find a top of some kind or jacket to compare sizing for the first few weeks.

Determine your frame size and decide what weight you need to be by using the BMR calculator and the addition of normal activity and exercise per day. If you missed that post here is the link How much should you weigh?

Remember: It is not healthy to lose masses of body weight too quickly.

  • You start to lose muscle instead of fat and that is not good in the long term.
  • When you lose muscle and then come off your diet, you don’t have the necessary muscle to burn fat, any excess beyond what your body uses up each day will be popped into the fat cells for safe-keeping.
  • That is why when you eat too few calories on a ‘crash’ diet, you put on even more weight than you started with.

Having said that, if you are steadily increasing your activity level, you can sustain a healthy loss of 2–3 lbs (1–1.5 kg) a week, because you are building muscle as you lose the fat.

Most one-dimensional diets work on the assumption that you walk three times a week for 20 minutes. This is hardly enough time to get out of breath! If you are walking for an hour every day, you will be achieving seven times that amount of exercise and will soon see the benefit in additional weight loss and toning.

The weight loss will always be quicker at first, but, if you average it out over a 20–week period, it usually works out to 2.5 lbs (1 kg) per week. You do not need to do the entire hour at once. Intensive and brisk walking for 20 minutes, three times a day can actually be more effective. Also, you are more likely to sustain the level of exercise in smaller segments. For me, I find that if I listen to rock music it keeps me at a good pace although does solicit some odd looks from passers by.

As always, especially if you are very overweight, you should not launch into an aggressive exercise program without first talking to your medical adviser.

Without the use of technical equipment, and complex calculations, it is generally difficult to calculate an individual’s calorific usage during an hour of exercise. To keep it simple, I have listed only a few exercises and divided them into two main groups: Moderate and Heavy (I will cover excercise in more detail in a later post).

Moderate exercise:

Walking, cycling and swimming. These use approximately 300 calories an hour. You should then add 10 calories for every 14 lbs (6.5 kg) you are overweight.

Heavy exercise:

Aerobics, mountain biking, running, and football. These use approximately 500 calories an hour. Here you need to add 20 calories for every 14 lbs (6.5 kg) you are overweight.

Basic Summary:

• Weigh yourself.
• Determine your frame size.
• Decide on your ideal weight.
• Calculate the weight loss required to achieve this weight.
• Determine the amount of calories you need each day to provide basic nutrition – BMR – then add in basic daily activity and exercise.
• Without going below your BMR – around the 1500 calories for a woman and 1800 for a man – design your healthy eating programme to provide a 500 to 750 calorie deficit per day to achieve 1–2 lbs weight loss per week.

Toning muscle can result in less weightloss.

It is worth noting that some weeks you may lose less than in others. As you increase your activity level, you will be toning up and this will create more muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat and so you may find that you have lost inches instead of pounds. However, in my experience, it usually seems to average out to about 2–2.5 lbs (0.9–1.1 kg) per week. Think long term, and do not become too obsessed with the day-to-day loss of weight.

I suggest that you keep a journal as I did.. I would list my food intake for the day in detail, plus fluids and the exercise. I weighed myself every Monday morning and made a record of weight lost, gained or stayed the same. If there was gain or I had stayed the same weight, I would take a look at the food and see is anything had slipped in or if I had been doing less exercise.


How much fat should I eat each day?

At this point I think it is important to remember that our bodies have been evolving for a very long time – in a hundred thousand years our DNA will only have altered about ten times – I have said before that the body does not react to sudden changes very well! However, in the last 300 years and particularly the last 150 years since the industrial revolution we have thrown some curve balls at our bodies.

Processed foods with manufactured artificial ingredients is just one area where our nutritional needs are not being met – one of the others, which is the real demon in our diet, is refined sugars – addictive – available from birth to grave, within hand’s reach in shops, in our own fridges and store cupboards – and laboratory constructed fats to extend the sell-by-date on ready meals and other processed foods in our daily diet. No wonder our bodies are in melt-down with increased health issues that lead to Heart disease, Cancers and Dementia.

But back to fats …

We must not cut fats out of our diet – they have an essential role to play in our health and without fats and cholesterol our bodies will be open to infections, poor function in areas such as the brain, heart, reproductive system and our eyesight. I use the 80/20 rule with my diet because I have to be watch my weight – 20% of my diet comprises healthy fats – sometimes I will have more because I am out for a meal etc. but basically my everyday diet comprises mainly seasonal vegetables and fruit, whole grain rice, fish, chicken, red meat once a week, eggs, moderate dairy.

No one person’s diet is the same and you have to find the perfect balance for you and this includes your fat intake – as long as it is not harmful fats.

Briefly, a quick look at the fats you are likely to encounter in your daily diet:

• One fat to avoid all together is not naturally occurring at all and that is manufactured ‘Trans Fats” Liquid oil is hydrogenated to extend its shelf life but in the process Trans fatty acids are formed – found in most processed foods including margarines and snacks such as microwave popcorn, biscuits, cakes, packaged puddings etc.

• The other fat type, which in large quantities is not helpful in maintaining cholesterol levels, is saturated fat – if there is too much in your diet it will raise your total Cholesterol as well as the LDL (low density lipoprotein which is smaller and clumps in arteries, and I call it Lousy Cholesterol). Mainly found in animal products but also some seafood. However, provided you are not eating the rich fat around a steak or roast every day, or eating a block of cheese three times a week, or a pound of butter on your spuds, you can enjoy what is very tasty component of your diet in moderation.

Personally I would rather have a small amount of real grass fed dairy butter with all its nutritional value, than a large dollop of low fat chemically processed glop……

Cholesterol is an essential element of many of the chemical reactions in the body including our brain health and our hormones. Dropping it too low can have an impact on our long-term health.

• The fats classified as healthy fats are Monounsaturated fats – which lower total cholesterol and at the same time lower LDL and increase HDL (High Density Lipoprotein and which I call Healthy Cholesterol) – this is contained in nuts, like walnuts and olive oil.

• Polyunsaturated fats also lower total cholesterol and LDL and these are found in salmon, soya, sunflower oils etc and have a very important component Omega-3 fatty acids. These can not only reduce your LDL and support HDL but are also very helpful in reducing blood pressure and the risk of developing blood clots. Even with people who have already suffered a heart attack including Omega-3 fatty acids in their diet reduces their risk of a fatal attack.

We love fish and it is very easy to include oily fish at least three times a week. Some of the best for Omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, halibut, mackerel, sardines and Albacore Tuna.

At this point a word about cooking your healthy meals – Olive oil is great but not so good when heated to a really high temperature to cook your steak or fish. It should be Extra Virgin Olive oil so that it has not been over processed – do not be tempted to use the light versions!

Use to drizzle over your meat, fish, vegetables, jacket potato etc after cooking – steam bake your food – if you are eating steak put in the oven in a pan with a grid so that the excess fat drains off – if you fancy a little butter on your vegetables, why not – great taste.

A little more info on Olive Oil – great stuff – potent mix of anti-oxidants that can lower the LDL but leave the HDL untouched – obviously if you are overweight it does have a high fat and calorie count but much better to use the Extra Virgin version and get the health benefits than use the diet alternatives.

I also use coconut oil for cooking and I have the liquid oil as a dressing, it is organic and has no additives and mixed with a little balsamic vinegar makes a delicious addition to salads.

The greatest gift you can give you body and its cholesterol is to avoid eating processed store bought cakes, biscuits, crackers some cheap breads, pasta dishes etc. If you make your own from scratch using butter and eat occasionally you will get a better tasting and healthier alternative.

To summarise – do not take fats out of your diet – use unprocessed, natural ingredients in your cooking, use fats and oils in moderation, eat plenty of vegetables, seasonal fruits, whole grains, dairy and eggs. 

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2022

Next time part two of this stage of your weight loss with a check on portion sizes.

A little bit about me nutritionally. .

About Sally Cronin

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-four years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain.

Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 21 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

You can buy my books from: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow me :Goodreads – Twitter: @sgc58 – Facebook: Sally Cronin – LinkedIn: Sally Cronin

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2022- ‘Lucky Dip – A Valentine Gift by Gwen Plano


Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine.

The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics. This series is along the same lines… but is a ‘Lucky Dip’. I have posts scheduled for another few weeks but that will bring this current series to an end. Another series will begin in the new year.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the half of 2022

Today author and poet Gwen Plano shares a tribute to her grandfather that she posted in February in celebreation of Valentine’s Day.

A Valentine Gift  

Amidst the demands of the times, we pause and celebrate those we love. How wonderful is that! Stores are filled with bouquets of flowers, boxes of chocolate, and rows of cards. Today LOVE is getting needed attention.

With Valentine greetings spread across the blogosphere, there’s one special Valentine I’d like to share with you today – my grandfather Valentine F Butters.

Born February 14th, Val (as he was called), quickly became beloved by all who knew him.

For most of his life, he didn’t have much, and he didn’t care. He loved life – the challenges, the joys, and all the moments in-between.

What I remember most about my grandfather is his laugh. No matter the circumstance, peeling potatoes or reading me a book, he’d offer a heartfelt chuckle.

​My mom was a twin, and when she arrived, the whole community responded. They were the first twins in the farming community and quickly lost their names to be called “The Twins”.

​For Val, they were a miracle. He spent long hours in the fields caring for this miracle, and each year another arrived.

I never heard my grandfather say anything unkind or thoughtless. If he spotted one of his grandkids in tears, he’d pick them up and listen to their story, then he’d offer hugs and say, “It’s not so bad, now is it?” I heard this expression more than once, and it always made everything better.

Much like the Twins, my grandfather saw his grandchildren as miracles. But Papo (as we called him) was our miracle.

Thinking back over the years, there are many Valentines I cherish, but my grandfather tops the list. In his memory, I offer a simple Tanka poem and wish you a very happy Valentine’s Day.

©Gwen Plano 2022

My thanks to Gwen for allowing me to share the posts from her archives and I know she would love to hear from you.. hugsx

About Gwen M. Plano

Growing up in Southern California, Gwen M. Plano loved learning, and she loved imagining stories, some grandly epic, all personal and heartfelt. She taught and served in universities across the United States and in Japan, then retired and focused again on her stories.

Her first book, Letting To Into Perfect Love, is an award-winning memoir recounting some of her struggles in life while providing insight into the healing process.

Gwen shifted to fiction after this first book and joined forces with acclaimed author John W. Howell in writing a thriller, The Contract: between heaven and earth. Its sequel, The Choice: the unexpected heroes, soon followed – this time a solo effort. The Culmination, a new beginning, is the third book of the series.

Gwen lives in the Midwest with her husband, traveling and writing, sharing those stories only she can imagine.

Books by Gwen M. Plano

One of the reviews for Culmination

Mae Clair 5.0 out of 5 stars A Political Thriller with Strong Characters  Reviewed in the United States on January 16, 2021

Book three in a series, The Culmination reads easily as a standalone novel. A political thriller, that addresses denuclearization, tensions in the Middle East, and the fate of refugees, much of the story echoes current headlines. The plot is complex involving multiple heads of state, along with the strategical give and take of political maneuvering on a global level. The author clearly put an extensive amount of research into this book, and it shows. Adrenalin-fueled scenes alter with more cerebral moments, and even a few romantic interludes.

I especially loved the evolution of the relationship between the two central characters, Margaret Adler, VP of the United States and Ivan Smirnov, acting President of Russia. During the course of the novel those titles change, and we learn more about each, including richly developed backgrounds. I was thoroughly invested in the difficulties Margaret and Ivan faced, both on personal and political levels. Their scenes together were among my favorites of the book. There’s also a young refugee child who factors into the story and who stole my heart.

A unique combination of character-driven and plot-driven fiction, I recommend this compelling tale to readers who enjoy strong character development and complexly-plotted intrigue. 

Read the reviews and buy the books: : Amazon UKand : Amazon USAs Gwendolyn M. Plano: Amazon US follow Gwen : Goodreads –website:Gwen PlanoTwitter: @gmplano

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s – Culinary A – Z Rewind – ‘H’ is for Honey, Hamburgers, Hummus, Herbs, Haggis and Hoisin Sauce


Welcome to a repeat of the series from Carol Taylor, the wonderful Culinary A – Z and a reminder, not only of the amazing variety of food we have available to us today from around the world, but delicious recipes to showcase them. Carol also introduces to cooking methods and kitchen equipment that assist in creating meals for all occasions.

Welcome once again to Carols Cooking Column and today in my culinary trawl we have the letter H.

The choices on what to showcase were many and I had quite a hard time deciding which ones to feature. Otherwise, you could be looking at something akin to War and Peace and we all want peace in our kitchens don’t we?

Honey: Also known as the… Nectar of the Gods.

Where do I get my honey? Well, my first bottle, I was sitting on the beach with my sundowner, fending off the ever-present sellers of touristy bits and bobs, when a man appeared carrying a very heavy-looking bucket. What did he have? Well, I had to look and what a surprise, it was fresh, very fresh honeycomb, and he strained the most glorious bottle of fresh honey. I just had to purchase it, the taste was so fresh and very slightly scented, amazing and a beautiful golden colour.And enjoy!

Now I have moved to the North of Thailand I get my honey straight from the comb, I am so lucky and I know that and it is beautiful.

I always take a little apple cider vinegar with a spoonful of honey in hot water first thing in the morning, on an empty tummy. I have been taking it for a couple of years. It is said to fight off joint inflammation and I don’t suffer from joint pain or anything.

Honey mixed with Dijon mustard makes a lovely glaze for BBQ meats.

Or one of my favourites is honey and chilli glaze

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup of honey
  • 1 tbsp. of Red chillies finely chopped,
  • 1 tbsp. of Green chillies finely chopped,
  • 1 tbsp. of fresh Lime juice,

Mix all together and leave for 1 hour in the fridge it is then ready to use.

Another wonderful dip for a cold meat platter on a lovely spring/summers day…has cloves and soy sauce.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. oil,
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped,
  • 1/2-1 tsp. red pepper flakes,
  • 1/3 cup honey,
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce,
  • 2 tsp. rice vinegar,
  • ¼ to ½ cup water
  • and 2 tsp. cornstarch.

Let’s cook

  1. In a small bowl stir together the honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ¼ cup of water and the cornstarch.
  2. Put the oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat and let the mix warm up for about 30 seconds,
  3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and just starting to color, 15-20 seconds max.
  4. Add the red pepper flakes and cook for another 15-30 seconds until garlic is very lightly browned.
  5. Restir the honey mixture and pour into the saucepan, bring to a simmer stirring, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 mins stirring frequently.
  6. Add more water if desired.

You now have a lovely dip for your cold platter.

What I also love is chilli infused honey.

  1. Place honey in a saucepan and warm until it reaches 180 degrees on a sugar thermometer.
  2. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn.
  3. Then pour your honey over a jar of chillies.
  4. Cool to room temperature.

Beautiful with meat or fish.

Enjoy!

Hamburger:

The hamburger or burger as most commonly called first appeared around the 19th century or early 20th century and the evidence suggest that it originated in the U.S.A and consisted of two pieces of bread and a ground beefsteak. How far has it evolved since then??

There are great burgers and there are the worst burgers you could ever eat. Me I am not a fan of the burger and on the odd occasion when we do have them I make my own. There are the schools of thought of which the late Anthony Bourdain was one that a burger should be just that and not have so much in it that you couldn’t get your mouth around it. I have seen pictures of some huge ones so I do tend to agree with him that less is more.

My favourite burger is a beef, red, onion and parmesan burger.

Ingredients:

  • 350 gm. best beef mince or mince your own
  • 1 med red onion very finely chopped reserving a few whole rings of onion to go in the burger.
  • 2 med eggs yolks beaten
  • 25 gm. breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 tsp. chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 35 gm. parmesan cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper.

Let’s Cook!

  1. If you are cooking your burgers on the BBQ then the first job is to get the BBQ going as you want it nice and hot.
  2. Chop the onion finely and blitz in the food processor…add the egg yolks with the breadcrumbs, spices and Dijon mustard mix to combine.
  3. Finely grate the parmesan and mix in well.
  4. Add the mince and season well…I always cook a tiny little patty as a tester that way it is easier to adjust the seasoning.
  5. I find mixing with your hands is a good way to combine the ingredients properly once mixed then form into the sized burgers you require.
  6. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for 10 minutes or so to firm up before putting onto the BBQ or grill.
  7. Drizzle with olive oil and season when you put them on the griddle and cook for 4 mins each side more if you like your burgers well done.
  8. Once the burgers are done then let them rest for a few minutes before putting them in the burger bun.
  9. Serve in a toasted bun with sliced red onion and relish of your choice. Plain and simple but really tasty.

Herbs:

Fresh Herbs are something that I always have in my fridge and my garden, Don’t you?

Also, I want to show you that it is not time-consuming to give your food that little extra pizzaz…Food should be tempting, it should be fun and enjoyable as well as being good for you…and the occasional treat…Have it! Enjoy it! Safe in the knowledge that most of the time what you and your family are eating is good, healthy food… but never boring!

Some herbs you can grow at home and pick them fresh knowing that they are pesticide free. How satisfying is that???

They are also something that I sometimes forget that I have or keep meaning to use and end up throwing them away. Does the same thing happen in your house?

It is always those tender herbs like coriander, basil, mint, parsley or chives…The hardy herbs are the ones I always keep in the freezer.

Well, no more will I be throwing away my herbs I decided that I would use my herbs more or less immediately or do something with them.

I think herbs always lift an ordinary dish and make it a little bit more special for example, if you are having a salad just snip a few herbs and toss them in with your normal salad vegetables or if you fancy a salad and have no salad in the fridge then a salad made of freshly picked herbs from the garden or the hedgerow makes a refreshing change.
Freeze some chopped herbs in ice-cube trays and then all have to do is drop one or two into your cooking when herbs are needed.

Or make some lovely herb butter ideal for melting over your fish or dropping in a sauce.

Add mint leaves to that bowl of ice cream see how much more refreshing it is.

Half and Half:

Half and half known as single cream in the UK is a blend of whole milk and light cream it also cannot be whipped. It does, of course, have a higher fat content than ordinary milk but adds that touch of creaminess to sauces, coffee, ice cream bases, rice pudding, mashed potatoes it has many uses in the kitchen. It is, however, better to add at the end of your cooking as if you overheat it then it will curdle.

Hangtown Fry:

What an intriguing name? It is a type of omelette with the original and most common version being made of Oysters, bacon, and eggs which sounds like a wonderful combo to me. It was originally made famous in the Californian Gold Rush in the 1850’s there are also many tales surrounding this dish from prisoners on death row ordering one as there last meal knowing that the Oysters have to be shipped in; so many tales I am sure there is a book somewhere.

Hull:

Quite simply to hull means to remove the stems of fruit like strawberries without just slicing the top of which not only wastes some of the lovely fruit it spoils the look of the fruit.

Hotpot:

Originating from Lancashire in North West England it is made of lamb or mutton and onions topped with sliced potatoes and cooked slowly in the oven…

I have happy memories of my mums hotpot she used to use scrag of lamb and top the dish with potatoes which would soak up some of the lovely meat juices and be deliciously golden brown on top…

Hummus:homemade

Combine ingredients

  • 3 tbsp Tahini Paste with
  • 2 tbsp fresh Lemon Juice and blitz in food processor.
  • Add 2tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 clove Garlic,
  • ½ tsp ground Cumin and a
  • ½-1 tsp salt and blitz

To prepare

  1. Then add half of drained, rinsed can of chickpeas and again blitz 1-2 mins.
  2. Add the other half of Chick Peas and blitz again 1-2 mins.
  3. Put in a suitable container or serving bowl drizzle with tbsp Olive Oil and sprinkle with Paprika.

Voila, it’s now ready to eat with Sliced pitta bread or cut up vegetables of your choice.
This will keep up to 1 week in the fridge.

Haggis:

Haggis is traditionally served on Burns Night which is a Scottish Celebration of the famous Rabbie Burns a Scots poet. Made from sheep’s pluck ( heart, liver and lungs) which is minced and mixed with oatmeal, suet, onions, spice, salt and moistened with a rich stock it is then cooked in an animals stomach and served with neeps( swede/turnip) and tatties( potatoes) and of course a dram of Scotch Whisky to wash it down.

Hoisin Sauce:

Hoisin sauce is a thick, fragrant sauce commonly used in Chinese cuisine as a glaze for meat, an addition to stir fries, or as dipping sauce. It is darkly-colored in appearance and sweet and salty in taste. Although regional variants exist, hoisin sauce usually includes soybeans, fennel, red chili peppers, and garlic.

Harvard Beets:

What are Harvard beets and how do they differ from normal pickled beets…? Harvard beets are coated in a warm sauce. The beets are pre-cooked for both preparations. Pickled beets are made with sugar, vinegar and pickling spices, and are served chilled. …

Harvard beets use sugar plus vinegar or lemon juice, but cornstarch or butter is then added to create a thick sauce.

Thank you for reading I hope you have enjoyed this little trip through the Culinary alphabet…Until next time when it will be the letter I.

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: Amazon US

Connect to Carol – Blog: Carol Cooks 2 – Twitter: @CarolCooksTwo – Facebook: Carol Taylor

 

My thanks to Carol for creating this wonderful series and we hope that you have enjoyed. As always we are delighted to receive your feedback and if you could share that would be great.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Laughter is the Best Medicine 2022 – Host Malcolm Allen – WFH and Bagpipes


Delighted to share the latest funnies from Australia and around the world shared by author Malcolm Allen

Many thanks to Malcolm for sharing his humour with us.

About Malcolm Allen

The author was born in London UK and experienced a challenging childhood, leaving school with no academic qualifications at the age of 15. He had mixed fortunes in his early working days but managed to secure a job in the banking industry at the age of 19. During a period of 32 years he enjoyed a demanding and successful career in London, the pinnacle of which was becoming a Company Director at the age of 37. Following a life changing experience in November 1998 he emigrated to Perth, Western Australia in September 2001, relocating to his current home in Melbourne, Australia in November 2015.

Thanks for dropping in today Sally and hope you are leaving with a smile on your face..

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2022- ‘Lucky Dip’ – How To Prevent Leishmaniasis In Your Dog When Travelling In Europe by Jacqueline Lambert


Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine.

The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics. This series is along the same lines… but is a ‘Lucky Dip’. I have posts scheduled for another few weeks but that will bring this current series to an end. Another series will begin in the new year.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the half of 2022

Today author and travel writer Jackie Lambert shares the often lethal disease for dogs Leishmaniasis which is common aroung the Mediterranean and anyone travelling with dogs should be aware of the dangers. Living in Spain meant that the vaccination was always included in Sam’s annual jab.

Leishmaniasis, caused by the Leishmania infantum parasite, carried by sandflies, is a severe, incurable disease, which is frequently lethal in dogs. Humans can also contract Leishmaniasis.

The disease is common in Southern Europe, particularly the Mediterranean, and is spreading north as a result of climate change. It is also prevalent in the Middle East, South and Central America, and southern Mexico, and has been reported in some states within the USA.
Geographic distribution of Leishamniosis

What is Leishmaniasis?

In dogs, the disease is caused by a protozoan parasite, Leishmania infantum, which is a single-celled microscopic organism found in dogs, cats, and some rodents.

Symptoms of Leishmaniasis can show up several years after a bite from an infected sandfly.

How Is Leishmaniasis Transmitted

Female sandflies transmit the single-celled Leishmania infantum parasite

The parasite is transmitted between mammalian hosts by female biting sandflies. Like female mosquitoes, they need blood in order to reproduce.

Leishmania infantum can also be transmitted in the following ways:

  • from mother to child, female dog to puppy
  • venereally
  • through blood transfusion
  • through shared syringes
  • direct dog to dog transmission through bites or wounds is suspected

Which Parts of Europe Are Prone to Leishmaniasis

Map of Leishmania hotspots in Europe. If you are taking your pet to any of these areas, you should consider vaccination & sanfly control. Enzootic means endemic.

Blood-sucking phlebotomine sandflies need temperatures above 15.6oC for at least three months of the year and can’t easily survive winters below 10oC. With global warming, sandflies are able to survive further north.

  • Greece (has one of the highest levels of incidence)
  • Spain
  • Portugal
  • Southern France, including Corsica
  • Italy, excluding the far north
  • Malta
  • The Balkans (Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Croatia (coastal), Macedonia (northern), Montenegro, Serbia (southern), Slovenia (coastal).

Leishmaniasis in Humans

Humans can also contract leishmaniasis, but there is not yet a human vaccine. The strains that affect humans are mostly found in the developing world, since the vectors are absent in Europe.

Those with malnutrition or a weakened immune systems are at increased risk of this disease. Humans can carry some species of the Leishmania parasite for long periods without becoming ill. Symptoms depend on the form of the disease – there are more than twenty strains which can infect humans.

As in dogs, the infection can be cutaneous (skin) or visceral (organs). The most common human form is cutaneous. Symptoms can include skin sores that occur weeks or months after the bite. They often clear up without treatment, but can be serious in some cases.

Although the disease can be cured and managed in humans, particularly with early intervention, it can be fatal if not treated.

For more information on Leishmaniasis in humans, click here.

Symptoms of Leishmaniasis in Dogs

Leishmaniasis can cause one or two types of infection, cutaneous and visceral. Virtually all dogs develop the visceral form, with ninety percent of those showing cutaneous signs. The cutaneous form of leishmaniasis more commonly affects cats.

  • A cutaneous (skin) infection
  • Thickening and hardening of the tissues on the muzzle and footpads, called hyperkeratosis.
  • Many dogs will lose the pigment or dark coloring of these tissues as the disease progresses.
  • Nodules or hard lumps may form in the skin and the coat often appears dull and brittle with areas of hair loss. The nails may grow long and curve abnormally.
  • A visceral (organ) infection
  • Fever
  • Anorexia (lack of appetite)
  • Weakness and decreased stamina
  • Severe weight loss
  • Diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Increased drinking and urination
  • Bleeding from the nose
  • About one-third of dogs will develop swollen lymph nodes, an enlarged spleen and will progress to kidney failure.
  • Muscle pain, joint inflammation, and swelling of the testicles may also be present.

This poor dog we found in Albania is showing symptoms of Leishmaniasis. Sadly, there was nothing we could do for him, other than give him food and water. Bless him, he still managed to wag his tail at us, which broke my heart. If you want to help dogs in Albania, there is a link at the bottom of my blog.

Treatment of Leishmaniasis

There is no cure for Leishmaniasis, all the vet can do is manage the symptoms and the disease. Unfortunately, the medication itself can also cause side-effects. The prognosis for an infected dog is ‘guarded to grave’ due to the potential for organ damage and failure, although some dogs with Leishmaniasis can live a long and happy life. As with most diseases, early diagnosis and treatment is key.

How To Prevent Leishmaniasis in Dogs

Sand fly of the type that will transmit Leishmaniasis.
Photo credit Ray Wilson, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, CC BY Creative Commons.org via Wikimedia Commons

In Europe, the highest risk of sandflies being active occurs between dawn and dusk, from May to October.

1. Physical Precautions:

  • Keep your dog indoors when sandflies are active, between dawn and dusk, during May to October. Do not let your dog sleep outside.
  • Keep windows and doors closed while sandflies are active, or use nets over open windows and doors.
  • Sandflies are attracted to the yellowy-orange light generated by conventional lightbulbs, so it’s doubly important to cover windows if you have the lights on.
  • Even if you use other preventatives, such as vaccination or insect repellants, you should observe these physical precautions.

2. Flea and Tick Collars:

These are impregnated with potent insecticides and repellents which release over time to protect your dog against insect bites. The collars should not be used with other parasite treatments in case the medicines contain the same the active ingredients and overdose your pooch, or react with each other.

It is important to note that collars protect against bites, not insect-borne diseases, so it is worthwhile still following the physical precautions above. Also, most collars are NOT effective against the sandflies which carry Leishmania – so speak to your vet or buy from a reputable supplier like Viovet.

Pros

  • Broad Spectrum – collars protect against several insects that carry parasites and disease
  • Long Lasting – They slowly release the protective chemicals and last for six to eight months, so they covers your dog for the season. Although they are expensive to buy, they probably work out cheaper than a spot on treatment.

Cons

We don’t use the collars for a number of reasons:

Sleeping with your dog when wearing a collar – there are mixed reports about whether it is safe to sleep with a dog wearing an insectiside-impregnated collar, but in general we have been advised that it’s fine!

  • They must be fitted tightly and worn permanently – or they are not effective.
  • They can cause allergy in some dogs, so monitor your pup closely when you use a collar. At least if they do react, you can simply remove the collar.
  • Scalibor is toxic to cats – like a number of canine flea and tick treatments, the active ingredient is toxic for felines, so not recommended if you also have cats as pets.
  • Getting the Collars Wet – the collars are waterproof in the rain and are still effective if your dog is wet, however;

Certain Shampoos remove the lipid layer in the dogs skin which harbours the active ingredient, and reduce the effectiveness of a Scalibor collar.

Deltamethrin is Harmful to Aquatic Life – the active substance in Scalibor is very harmful to fish and other aquatic organisms, so it is not ideal for dogs who love to swim.
Seresto’s effectiveness reduces over time with frequent immersion.

  • Not for use on puppies fewer than 7 weeks old.
  • Do not use on dogs with skin lesions – remove the collar until the lesions have healed.

3. Spot On Treatments

It is really difficult to find comprehensive information about many treatments, so this is the best we’ve been able to compile in association with vets and our own research.

Note Advantix and Vectra 3D contain permethrin, which is toxic to cats. Other than Simparica Trio, none of the treatments cover worms.

  • Simparica Trio protects against almost everything for one month; mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and most worms, apart from whipworm and tapeworm. It does not protect against sandflies. For further information, click here.
  • Vectra 3D  – is effective for 1 month against sandflies and mosquitoes.
  • Advantix  – is a monthly treatment, although its stated effectiveness against sandflies is 3 weeks and mosquitoes 2 weeks.
  • Bravecto  – is a 3 monthly treatment, best given with food. It is effective against sandflies, but gives 2 months’ protection against ticks.

4. Vaccination:

It is important to understand that vaccination does not prevent infection: it simply strengthens the dog’s immune response and reduces the likelihood of symptoms and suffering.

As such, it is essential still to take physical precautions to prevent bites by staying indoors when sandflies are active, plus using a collar or spot on in conjunction with the vaccine.

Previously, CaniLeish was the only vaccine available. Available since 2011, it requires three injections given at three-weekly intervals, plus a single annual booster. CaniLeish prevents fatal consequences in approximately 90% of cases, and 93% of vaccinated dogs get through a leishmaniasis infection without showing any symptoms.

The Fab Four had LetiFend,, a single-dose vaccine. One month after vaccination, it is 72% effective in prevention of canine leishmaniasis. It requires annual boosters.

Both vaccines can be administered in dogs older than six months, but cannot always be given at the same time as other vaccines.

5. Testing

If you frequently spend time in at-risk areas, it is advisable to get your dog tested regularly for leishmania pathogens and their antibodies, even if your dog is vaccinated. LetiFend does not affect the test, although antibodies generated by CaniLeish can cross-react with some serological tests for the disease.

Leishmaniasis can be carried asymptomatically, so testing can diagnose the infection before it actively erupts, when the organs are still unaffected.

With early diagnosis, medication is extremely effective in alleviating symptoms, and can prevent the pathogens from spreading further.

Other Considerations

Some countries where Leishmaniasis and other animal diseases are not present, such as Australia, require blood tests to determine that your dog is disease free. Even if your pet does not show symptoms, they may be denied entry to the country if they test positive for the parasite.

For more information and advice on travelling with dogs, including a printable packing list, check out my Wuff Guide to Travelling with Dogs.

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Resources

The Living with Leish Facebook group offers support and information on diagnosis and treatment of dogs with clinical Leishmania, according to Leishvet protocol. The group has up-to-date information not only from owners of dogs living with Leishmaniasis, but also helpful professionals in the field.

Disclaimer

Please note, I am a biochemist but not a vet, and have written this blog as a summary of my own research. As such, you use this information at your own risk. Although I make every effort to ensure that the information I provide is correct at the time of writing, things change all the time and it is essential that you always seek the most up to date advice from a qualified professional. Please see my Disclaimer page for more information.

How To Help Dogs In Albania

Boni – a rescue dog in Albania

There are a lot of dogs in need in Albania. We spoke to a French EU representative in Albania who said that sadly, there is still much corruption in Albania, and the funds for neutering and care of strays does not always reach the intended destination.

The Animal Veterinar Hospital in Fier runs a sanctuary for dogs and cats. Their love of animals is absolutely clear. To thank them for saving our little Kai’s life after he was attacked and badly bitten by a stray, we made a donation to assist the hospital’s work in providing care and sanctuary for stray animals, particularly disabled ones, such as Boni, who Dr. Luiza found in a canal. He was born with the deformity to his legs.

By giving direct, we knew that the money would be used solely for the benefit of the 4 Paws. The vets provide their work and expertise to strays free of charge, but rely on donations to buy food and medicine. You can make a donation via Paypal on animalhospitalveterinary@gmail.com. Any amount would be much appreciated!

Here are a few of the pups who will benefit at the animal hospital in Fier.

References

https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/leishmaniasis-in-dogs
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3820334/
https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/leishmaniasis/facts
https://www.healthline.com/health/leishmaniasis (in humans)
https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/leishmaniasis/disease.html (in humans)
https://stoppestinfo.com/247-all-you-should-know-about-sand-flies.html
©Jackie Lambert 2022

My thanks to Jackie for letting me share posts from her archives and if you are considering travelling with your dog then I am sure this post will have been extremely helpful. I know Jackie would love to hear from you.

About Jacqueline Lambert

Jacqueline Lambert has long had a passion for travel and adventure. Always a bit of a tomboy, it was an accidental white water rafting trip down the Zambezi that really opened her eyes to the experiences that the world has to offer. The trip was not, as she expected, ‘floating down the river looking at wildlife’.

Somewhere between the adrenaline of tackling Grade 5 rapids in crocodile-infested waters and the raw beauty of sleeping under the stars on the banks of the river, she determined that she was no longer content to live her life in thin slices. She also realised that experience was more important than owning STUFF.

Since then, she has travelled as much as time and budget would allow and has rafted major rivers on every continent except Antarctica. Before meeting her husband, Mark, she took a sabbatical from work. Although she was single at the time, she asked for – and was granted – ‘maternity leave’ to spend several months backpacking around Fiji, Australia and New Zealand!

A keen off piste skier and windsurfer, Jackie is a Team Rider for the UK’s National Watersports Festival, to which she has contributed many articles and blogs about windsurfing. She is also the wordsmith behind her own dog-centric caravan travel blog, World Wide Walkies, which has been featured in the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle Newsletter and Dog Friendly Magazine.

She and Mark were made redundant in 2016. In their mid 50s, they decided to give up work, rent out their house and travel full-time with five dogs; their four Cavapoos; Kai, Rosie, Ruby and Lani and a stray that they adopted in Transylvania whom they named Blade, the vampire slayer.

Books by Jacqueline Lambert

My review for Adventure Caravanning With dogs 9th July 2022

This book is a very entertaining and informative guide to caravanning with four dogs as companions through France.

Never having been on a caravan holiday, I was ignorant of all the technical requirements needed to not just tow this home on wheels, but manoeuvre it on and off pitches, keep it level, attach all the necessary services and avoid damaging critical pieces of the undercarriage.

The author shares her adventures for the preparation of both caravan and drivers before embarking on an ambitious debut extended tour of France. Daunting enough for the novice caravanner but with four dogs in the mix, quite a logistical challenge.

Whilst excellent information on the technical aspects are included, it is accompanied by an easy going and very humourous narration with some very witty double entendres thrown in for good measure.

For those who are planning a touring holiday of France in a caravan the book has a wealth of information on the best campsites for both scenery and facilities, especially when dogs are not always welcome. Certainly a pack is not usually considered to be acceptable despite the four in question being not only adorable but extremely well behaved. Whilst usually the case, apparently fox poop is the exception and then all bets are off. This can be a problem when you find yourself without a water connection and therefore no showers!

I know France reasonably well, but clearly you get to see a great deal more of the coast and inland areas than visits to the usual touristy hotspots. The book left me yearning for the open road and the freedom to stop in more out of the way places where campsites are the only option to stay for the night. A home on wheels definitely has its advantages, and again with four dogs who love to swim and run the beaches, the only sensible option if you take them with you, as hotels would be out of the question.

This is just the first book in the series and I am very much looking forward to reading the others. I finished this one with a smile on my face and a renewed desire for more travel adventures. I can highly recommend this honest, well written and amusing real life adventure.

Read the reviews and buy the books: author.to/JLambertFollow Jacqueline: Goodreads – Blog: Worldwide WalkiesFacebook: Jacqueline Lambert Author – Twitter: @JLambertAuthor